Sanctuary. This is how Kevin Guskiewicz, Dean of the College of Arts and Sciences, recently described Hyde Hall, the home of UNC’s Institute for the Arts and Humanities. Others call it an oasis or a jewel, and many proclaim it their favorite place on campus. At the IAH we are rightly proud of our programs, and in past letters I have quoted our insightful fellows and trumpeted our important work in faculty retention. I now want to draw your attention to the place that helps inspire and strengthen everything we do. So let’s take a tour of some of our spaces.

The Fellows Room. Bathed in sunlight from windows on all sides, a cohort of our faculty fellows chats animatedly at a long, polished wooden table. They make a happy discovery: much of their work focuses in some way on the concept of borders. A few months after the end of their semester-long residency, a quartet of these fellows—now an interdisciplinary research group—has launched an ambitious new project to study the ramifications of the border-crossing flow of Syrian refugees through Europe.

The University Room. It’s our annual Fellows Market, where we showcase faculty accomplishments, whether books, recordings, artworks, or interactive websites. Tables displaying this cornucopia of scholarly and creative achievement ring the room, our largest space. Members of the university community marvel at the breadth and significance of the work before them, while a trio of talented undergraduate jazz musicians, gathered around our grand piano, provides the soundtrack.

The Incubator. A spacious room with vaulted ceilings and large windows overlooking McCorkle Place, the Incubator serves variously as a conference space, a meeting room, a gallery, and a classroom. A group of recently tenured professors from a dozen departments discusses “resilience,” sharing their successes and struggles in their quest to balance research, teaching, service, and life. They leave the session with helpful new ideas and a stronger sense of community.

The Kitchen. I’m sitting with a prospective faculty member in our large airy kitchen, a favorite casual meeting place for professors. Over coffee, he tells me about a symposium he’s been dreaming up that would catalyze a new area of scholarship. “Let’s do it,” I tell him. He can’t suppress a broad smile as he asks, “Can we have it in the Incubator?”

Every day brings something new and exciting to the spaces of Hyde Hall. None of it, however—including Hyde Hall itself—would exist without the financial assistance of our many friends. Thank you for your past support, and we hope we can count on you to support our great faculty again this year. And please do come visit us. We make a great cup of coffee.


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Mark Katz

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